Kids love museums but curious hands and irreplaceable art do not always mix well. This summer, take your budding Picassos to the Asian Art Museum’s newest exhibit, teamLab: Continuity, an interactive digital art experience the whole family will love. Immersive art is all the rage these days so read on to find out why and how kids blend in perfectly!

photo: Asian Art Museum

TeamLab: Continuity

Located in San Francisco’s Civic Center, The Asian Art Museum recently reopened after an extensive remodel and COVID-19 hiatus. Continuity is located in the brand new Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion, which at 8,500 square feet is the city’s largest art exhibition space.

My sidekicks, ages five and seven, were initially wary of the exhibit. Like most kids their age, they like to run around and touch things but know from previous experience this leads to frantic shushing in art galleries. However, the enthusiastic docents pointed out all the exhibit's cool features and encouraged the kids for some hands-on action. Before long, my kids were touching, giggling and dancing from room to room. Images of the natural world are projected onto the floor, ceilings and walls and change constantly as you walk which gives the feeling of being truly immersed in a painting.

photo: TeamLab

Multiple senses are involved in this truly interactive exhibit as a swipe near the wall changes the display of colorful cherry blossoms while a touch of the hand creates a new cloud of butterflies. Music, dancing light and even smell adds to the experience with the scent of rose petals creating a spa-like and relaxing environment. In one particular room, the creators presented an exciting vibe with streams of light zooming around the room that slightly disoriented my sense of balance. The upbeat tempo of the music accompanied by the flashing lights caused my kids to immediately launch into their own private dance party. 

photo: Sarah McDonald

Sketch Ocean

Although Continuity is the main draw, don’t miss Sketch Ocean, a smaller exhibit located near the museum’s entrance. This is another interactive art experience from teamLab, where colorful sea creatures created by visitors are projected onto the walls.

Pick a template, color, scan and watch as your drawing bursts into life on the wall and swims away to join other creations. The movement of the artworks are quite life-like and the result mimics a real aquarium. Look out for fish who have swum all the way from Tokyo, where teamLab has a sister exhibit.

Nosh 

Creating great art is hungry work, so make a stop at the museum’s cafe, Sunday at the Museum, for a Japanese-inspired sandwich (think Katsu chicken on milk bread with slaw!) or a house-made chocolate chip cookie. The cafe also serves boba tea from the Boba Guys and sparkling fruit drinks.

If you are looking for a fun way to fire up your kids’ imagination and enjoy modern art together minus the stress of keeping them quiet in an adult space, be sure to catch this exhibit while it is in town! 

TeamLab: Continuity and Sketch Ocean

July 23 to February 2022
Tickets: $20/adults weekdays, $25 weekends, free for children under 12
200 Larkin Street, San Francisco
Online: asianart.org

—Sarah McDonald

featured photo: Asian Art Museum

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